Try as we all may, no one seems to have the words to express their grief or describe the emotions and helplessness they’re feeling in the wake of the Feb. 14 shooting at Parkland, Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. We’ve all seen, heard or read the news. Some of us were floored by the fact that yet another tragedy of this magnitude has occurred in our country. Some of us were angered and some of us were numbed, unable to process the fact that this had happened again.
Even singers and songwriters who make their living by crafting words into songs that become the soundtrack to our lives were searching for words to help them process this most recent tragedy.
Both Chase Rice and Chris Young admitted they were struggling to find the worlds to express what they were feeling, but their heartbreak was palpable on social media. Chase tweeted out, “Sending my love and more importantly prayers to the folks in Florida on this Valentine’s Day. There aren’t many words to genuinely help, but I am sorry. For the loss, the hate and the terror. Lot of people praying for y’all, we love ya.” In his own tweet, Chris simply said, “I just saw about Florida … no words can encapsulate grief, but I’m so sorry for all of the families.”
Cassadee Pope, who hails from nearby West Palm Beach, Florida, admitted that she was both “saddened and disgusted” by the event, which she described as a “pointless act of evil.”
And Charlie Daniels, a devout Christian who is often known to be political, simply chose to lean on his faith, offering prayers for the families of those involved.
NASCAR’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Harrison Burton were both attempting to come to grips with this horrific act while preparing for the weekend’s Daytona 500. With his first baby scheduled to arrive in just a few months, Junior admitted, “I can’t imagine the horror and sadness of suddenly losing a child.” And Harrison said that the new was heavy on all of their hearts. “Sometimes it seems like racing is all that matters but it’s clear that isn’t true,” he wrote. “Tonight we race with heavy hearts.”
“Single White Female” singer Chely Wright, who is also the mother to two little boys, was particularly thoughtful in a post on her Instagram page. And while the message was poignant, it was also a call for gun reform. Showing a picture of her twin sons silhouetted against the setting sun, she wrote, “I hugged and kissed my boys tonight knowing that I am lucky … so far. I am praying— in earnest— for the families who are having the worst night they’ll ever have in their lifetime. This doesn’t have to keep happening. We. The. People.”
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17 students left their homes this morning to go do what our law require them to do— they went to school. Those 17 students will never enter the front door of their house again, they’ll never go into their room again, they’ll never again wear the clothes that hang in their closet and there will forever be an empty chair at their family’s dinner table where that student had always been seated. They’ll never sit down to eat dinner with his/her family again because of laws that our elected official refuse to make about guns. I hugged and kissed my boys tonight, knowing that I am lucky… so far. I am praying— in earnest— for the families who are having the worst night they’ll ever have in their lifetime. This doesn’t have to keep happening. We. The. People.
Rosanne Cash also took current gun laws — and the NRA — to task. Shortly after the shooting, she wrote, “I cannot bear to see one more photo of innocent kids walking out of school with their arms over their heads. This has to stop. The NRA supports domestic terrorism. #GunControlNow”
In another tweet on Feb. 15, she pointed directly to Congress. “I’m so ashamed that this is who we are. We don’t care enough about the lives of children to prevent the purchase of assault rifles,” she wrote. “I woke up crying, thinking about those kids who were waiting for their college acceptances, who were just going to school. Congress, this is on you.”
She also gave due process to mental health issues, adding that only four states have passed the Extreme Risk Protection Order as law.
Even after having previously been chastised for using their social media to express some political thoughts, Brothers Osborne didn’t hesitate to simply tweet, “Nothing will be done. Nothing.”
And even though others railed on the duo, attempting to berate them, one reader encouraged them to use their platform to invoke change themselves, saying, “Y’all have a bigger voice and platform than most. Just saying.”
There are no adequate words of comfort at a time like this. As many of our peers and the country and NASCAR communities do, we simply offer our heartbroken condolences and prayers to those affected by this senseless act.